Here we go. Little glass canning jars from the 1970s:
They hold about ten ounces. Does $1.99 seem reasonable to you?
Each. $1.99 each.
Okay, now, what if I were to tell you that most of them are missing the little rubber rings inside the lids, the rings that are there are in various states of disintegration, and the rest we can’t be sure of because the rusty lids seem to be permanently fused to the glass?
Still a good deal, huh? Hey, you’re the jam expert.
Let’s leave that Goodwill, and head to another.
Oh, but let’s stop at the store first – this reminds me: I need to pick up marmalade. Sweet orange marmalade.
Here we go.
$2.78. Hey, that’s the price of sweet orange marmalade these days.
All right then, on our way!
And now here we are in a different Goodwill. Oh, what a coincidence – another jelly jar.
An empty one.
For a dollar ninety-nine! The jar full of preserves only cost 79¢ more!
It’s like I’ve always said: You’re not paying for the sweet orange marmalade, you’re paying for the jar.
Just an observation I made while at the Simi Valley Habitat for Humanity thrift store.
Coincidentally, it’s also the last line of the daily pep talk I’d give to my hard-working girls on the thankless weekday noon-to-five shift at that gentlemen’s club I managed in Van Nuys.
As you’ve probably read in the news, a fellow name of Anton Orlov recently bought an old camera in an antique shop and while cleaning his purchase, found a bunch of negatives in the film chamber that date back to around World War I! Amazing!
But if you think that’s something, how about this:
I was in Goodwill the other day where I found an ancient digital camera. It was of course overpriced so I scraped off the price tag with my fingernail and replaced it with one from a chipped coffee mug that was much more reasonable. Then I paid for it and brought home my find!
Imagine my surprise and delight when I connected it to my computer and it started automatically uploading pictures! Among them was this image of a 1910s forerunner to the 99¢ Only store!
Ha! Ha ha ha! No, I’m kidding! Turns out this is a regular 99¢ Only Store today in 2013, only the light in the second ‘9’ is out!
But what a fun way to start off your week, right?
MAGNIFICENT! A joy to behold!
Whether used as a buffer between a hot-from-the-oven 4-quart Corning Ware Blue Cornflower dish full of delicious Tater Tot Taco casserole and your heirloom Gustav Stickley double-leaf, or simply as whimsical kitchen decor hung on the wall next to the Dixie riddle cup dispenser, this is one delightful trivet!
But $4.99?! Outrageous!
Unless your name is Doris, I suppose.
Good morning, Jim.
What you’re looking at is an all-transistor Apolec tape recorder, Model RA-11, manufactured in 1963 by a Japanese firm called Sunwave Industrial Company.
As you can see, the device originally retailed for $15.87 at Thrifty, a now-defunct drug store chain. Today, in its current state, it has been arbitrarily priced nearly ten dollars more.
In an effort to raise money for its overseas terrorist operations, the Syndicate has taken over local Goodwill thrift stores and labeled old, damaged items with criminally high price tags.
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to infiltrate Goodwill, drive out the Syndicate, reform their pricing policies, and ensure prices commensurate with the values of obsolete, second-hand, donated merchandise.
As always, should you or any member of your IM Force be caught, killed or seen trying on used socks, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.
This tape recorder will self-destruct and blow all the fuses in the store as soon as you plug it in to test it.
Good luck, Jim.
HERE’S a cute little butter dish we’ve got for you!
Can we, eh, get a closeup of the price on the lid, please?
Wonderful! Now just to be thorough, let’s take the lid off, and see that there’s a matching price tag on the bottom of this butter dish “set,” hm…?
Excellent! Complete butter dish set comprised of tasteful butterdome and sturdy butterplate. Everything’s included! Nothing else to buy! ‘Cept the butter, ha ha!
At Goodwill we don’t rook you by making you purchase the two elements separately. No sir, one easy payment of $12.99 gets you both!
Hey! Hey, what are you doing?! It’s in fine shape, there’s absolutely no reason to inspect it any further by turning the plate over…!
Okay, whatever. Looks good, right, okay? Let’s ring you up then— Don’t you dare go in for a closeup! No! Don’t you dare!
Um…I don’t know why you’re complaining! $12.99 is a steal for an antique! Sure! Look at the upper right corner of the original price tag – it’s from 1886!
AS MOST patriotic Americans know, today the Olympics begin, and I for one couldn’t be more excited!
My God, just think about all that hot, sweaty flesh…!
But enough about me in only a pair of dingy, threadbare briefs, stuck to my leather recliner, eating one microwave chimichanga after another while watching TV during one of our nation’s hottest summers on record!
What you’re here for is one of my most popular features – The Overpriced Goodwill Item of the Week!
This week’s item (heh – “week” – as though I post one of these with the regularity that this feature’s title implies!) will set you back $3.99 – as you can see here in this closeup of the price tag:
“Why, $3.99 isn’t a terrible price for anything – especially an imported curio from mysterious and exotic Korea,” you say, having noticed the gold sticker on the bottom of this item – whatever it is!
Oh no? You’ll pay $3.99 for this, will you?!
“Again,” you insist, “$3.99 seems perfectly reasonable for a ceramic figurine of belovedly forgotten Sam the Olympic Eagle – the visually uninteresting Disneyfied mascot of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in the filthy toilet that is Los Angeles.”
Oh, I’d tend to agree with you, probably, until the figure was turned around, that is – and we all saw this!
Gasp! His right arm-wing has been snapped off! Broken! Gone! Shattered and destroyed like the Olympic dreams of a Greek athlete found guilty of tweeting pictures of herself marrying gay West Nile Virus-carrying illegal immigrant mosquitos to each other at Chick-Fil-A, if my grasp of this week’s headlines is accurate.
A missing appendage – the glaring imperfection that will render an already practically worthless collectible ceramic figure even more practically worthless in the practically worthless collectible ceramic figure collector’s market! The judges aren’t going to like that!
But you want to pay four bucks for this thing, there, Mr. (or Ms.) Moneybags, be my guest. Be my guest!
“Oh, for God’s sake you jackass, give Goodwill a break!” you argue. “Clearly the dirty, poorly-behaved, unsupervised child of some annoying and pushy customer broke this after it was priced.”
No! No! You do not insult the dirty, poorly-behaved, unsupervised children of annoying and pushy customers from my local Goodwills. Not on my watch, pal! You do not do that!
No, as a matter of fact, I happened to be there when this little beauty was brought out of the back on a cart laden with all kinds of overpriced secondhand crap and put on a shelf on the sales floor (industry term). Troublemaker that I am, I even made a point to tell the woman who was putting out the merchandise “This thing’s broken” and show it to her.
Her response? A shrug and then, as she walked away, “Someone will want it.”
Give that Goodwill employee a gold medal!
SO I WAS AT my local National Council of Jewish Women thrift store the other day and I happened upon a great deal!
A big ol’ box of DVDs – licensed ones this time, not those illegal pirated DVDs like last time – and for just a dollar a piece!
Here’s one I considered!
It’s called “Beeper” and it stars Ed Quinn, Joey Lauren Adams and Harvey Keitel – three of your favorites!
The exciting plot: “A doctor must follow the instructions on a drug dealer’s beeper to rescue his kidnapped son.”
Don’t laugh! You have to remember, this movie was made quite some time ago – 2002 to be exact. Back then, we didn’t have cell phones! So we all carried beepers! Hence the name of the film!
Though I understand it was written even earlier – in 1999 – and was originally titled “Answering Service.” (But they completely retooled the script to reflect the technological advances in communications the world had enjoyed since then. You know, to make it relevant for savvy 21st century audiences.)
It’s still there if you want it. I didn’t buy it. Harvey Keitel’s annoying, mousy, helium voice has always driven me up the goddamn wall.
An Important Update In The War Against “Decorative” Bottled Olive Oil and Vinegar in Thrift Stores: An Important Update!
CAN one person make a difference? If that one person is me, and the difference is negligible, you bet I can – and did!
Last weekend I visited a local thrift store – Goodwill Northridge, to be specific, there at Reseda and Devonshire. (And if you’ve never been, don’t bother going! I find that most folks who read posts about thrift stores on blogs are probably buying the same crap I am, so stay the hell away, you hipster bastards! Eh, stay away from my thrift stores, that is. You keep coming back and reading the blog, hm? Love ya!)
Folks, I am proud to report that I scoured that store from top to bottom and there was nary an outdated gift bottle of garlic-studded olive oil or chili pepper-infused vinegar anywhere to be found!
None tucked away behind stacks of Percy Faith and 101 Strings LPs, not a one sharing shelf-space with castoff breadmakers and woks, not even a single bottle amid the dozens of cheap glass vases flower arrangements come in.
I even barged into the back room like I owned the place and poked around there (Told whoever was pricing clothes that I was on a fact-finding mission from the head office in Naperville. Lucky for me she didn’t know where the company is based, either!) and guess what! Nothing in the back room! No jugs of vinegar! No casks of olive oil! Zero!
None in the donation area by the back door, neither! And I hit up the break room, too. I figured, as you would, maybe employees would be foolishly (and dangerously!) stockpiling it for their own use there.
Turns out we were wrong, you and I! I found none! Zip! Nada! Also, whoever had the little Tupperware container of potato salad in the fridge? Delicious. And next time you’ll know to put your name on it – lesson learned.
The enormity of this lack of bottled oils and vinegars (and potpourri and spices and everything else) is enormous! It means that through the Power of Blogging, I have personally shamed Goodwill into doing the right thing and throwing those disgusting things the hell out!
Personally! Me! I did all this! I helped effect change – for the good this time, for once in my goddamn life! At this one particular location! On this one particular day I happened to go in there.
Somehow, by writing an overly long blog post that, what, six people at most read, I have single-handedly succeeded in exorcising these demon bottles with their execrable substances out, out, out of Goodwill! Praise Jesus!
This thrift store is clean!
Oh, there’ll be plenty of time later to congratulate me for all my hard work and dogged determination in personally getting all this accomplished. But there’s also plenty of time now, so feel free to send me gift cards. (No iTunes, please. BevMo, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Lane Bryant or Red Lobster, preferred, in that order)
Or, even better – simply give cash (and if you do it through PayPal, it’s always a bit classier if you figure out the fees in advance and add those to the amount you want to give me so I get a nice round $100 or $250 rather than a slightly lower, odd amount after the fees come out of my end).
And by the way: Sadly, despite all that I’ve accomplished, my work is not yet done.
…And by that I mean I have a bunch more pictures of other bottles of this crap that I’ve found since writing that first post a month or so ago. And, well, since you people seem to enjoy looking at them, we’ll get to all that next week, probably.
SOME TIME AGO I was visiting lovely Simi Valley (always a delight!) and at a certain thrift store therein, I happened across this fun little number:
The place where I found it is my favorite thrift store far and wide for a reason – they don’t rake you over the coals, price-wise. They don’t Goodwill you, if you know what I mean, and brother, if you read this blog with any regularity, you know what I mean! This booklet cost me a measly quarter. As well it should!
I didn’t buy it with any thought of putting it on eBay and retiring to the gated Simi Valley community of “Parklane” with the profits. (If only, right?!) No, I just wanted a little something to read while I ate my #1 at Wienerschnitzel (two chili dogs, fries, and a bottomless Pepsi – foods I can feel good about eating).
Anyway, like you, I’m too young to have watched “Bonanza” in its original run, probably!, but I’ve caught a few snippets of it on TV Land amounting to the time it takes me to find the remote and change the channel to find something, anything!, else.
In doing so I have managed to acquire enough knowledge of the show to be able to competently answer whatever questions come up about it in Trivial Pursuit. (And the answers are either “Hop Sing” or “Ponderosa.” But usually “Hop Sing.”)
My point is that like you, I’m sick of seeing, for the last twenty-five years, these things…
…in every single antique and collectibles store – each with a sticker on the bottom or a little paper tag tied to the handle that reads “RARE vintage 1960s Bonanza tin cup – $40.”
Pfft! “Rare!” Rare indeed!
Because, folks, while enjoying a leisurely lunch there, cramming a couple of chili dogs into my face, I finally found proof to the contrary. Oh, I always knew – but to be able to prove it?! More delicious than the chili cheese fries I treated myself to for dessert. Finally, I had the ammunition to blow this whole “RARE vintage 1960s Bonanza tin cup” racket wide open!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
A little history, first!
“Bonanza” debuted in 1959 on NBC. It ran for 14 seasons, for a total of 430 episodes. That means today you could watch one episode a day for three weeks before choosing to end your life rather than endure another 409 days of this torture.
The show somehow takes place in 19th century Nevada yet near 1800s Lake Tahoe.
Around 1965, Bill and Joyce Anderson, who owned a small ranch near where the fictional Ponderosa would have existed, struck a deal with NBC. The result, the “Ponderosa Ranch” – a “Bonanza” theme park – opened in 1967. Occasionally, the “Bonanza” people would shoot scenes and sometimes entire episodes up there! Oh boy!
Here’s what’s amazing: It only closed in 2004! Who in hell was visiting this place after about 1975? I mean, like you, I’m entirely charmed that it outlived the show by thirty-one years. I just can’t for the life of me figure out how.
Back to the cup: The last page of “The Ponderosa Ranch of ‘Bonanza’ TV Fame – A Pictorial Guide” features an article titled “The Tin Cup Story.” It mentions that ranch owner Bill Anderson was so inspired by Lorne Greene’s recording of “An Old Tin Cup”…
…that he found a company in St. Louis that could make new tin cups, and ordered them up in enormous lots to be sold as souvenirs.
These were available throughout the park’s entire thirty-seven year existence.
So let’s do the math here:
We all clear on this now, gang? They’re about as rare as the hairs on my Slovak grandmother’s back. They’re about as rare as flies on a Chickahominy prostitute.
So I have no alternative but to advise every one of you to print out this entire post and carry it with you each weekend as you go antiquing, which I presume you do each weekend.
And when you see one of these cups, and you will – hoo boy, you will! – you pull out these goddamn pages and you wave ‘em around in the face of the crook who’s trying to sell it to you for whatever insane price he’s dreamed up. Roll up these pages and smack ‘em in the face with it if you need to! You have my permission! My attorney here has chimed in here with “please don’t do any of that.”
Or better yet: Instead, why not carry with you the official souvenir guide itself which has the proof right there on the last page?
Hey, I’m finished reading it. What the hell do I need it for anymore?
It’s even got some dried chili stuck to a few of the pages – for all we know dribbled on there by Dan Blocker himself during a break from filming the 1973 fan favorite “Hoss and the Lonesome Sasquatch!” (One of Kathleen Freeman’s three appearances on the show!)
First one of you who gets sixty bucks to me, it’s yours.